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International Journal of the Sociology of Language

Founded by Fishman, Joshua A.

Ed. by Garcia Otheguy, Ofelia

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Language planning and French-English bilingual communication: Montreal field studies from 1977 to 1997

Richard Y Bourhis1 / Elisa Montaruli2 / Catherine E Amiot3




Citation Information: International Journal of the Sociology of Language. Volume 2007, Issue 185, Pages 187–224, ISSN (Online) 1613-3668, ISSN (Print) 0165-2516, DOI: 10.1515/IJSL.2007.031, May 2007

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This article reviews key elements of the model of multilingual communication (MMC) (Sachdev and Bourhis 2001, 2005) as they pertain to the case of the “two solitudes” in the province of Quebec: the Francophone majority and the Anglophone minority. The first part of the article provides an intergroup analysis of how language laws in Quebec succeeded in changing the respective ethnolinguistic vitality of the Francophone majority and the Anglophone minority in the province. Along with the MMC, communication accommodation theory is used to review the intergroup, normative, and social psychological determinants of bilingual switching behaviors, as well as specific social psychological studies of bilingual communication conducted in Quebec. The second part of the article describes empirical field studies of language accommodation in Montreal conducted in 1977, 1979, and 1991 (Bourhis 1984b; Moïse and Bourhis 1994). As a follow-up to our earlier studies, the goal of the 1997 experiment (N = 482) was to monitor the language strategies adopted by pedestrians who were randomly accosted by a white or black female confederate who voiced a plea for directions in either English or French. Results of the 1997 study showed that both Francophone and Anglophone pedestrians overwhelmingly converged to the linguistic needs of the white and black confederate.

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